The Platform

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Nord Stream pipeline bombing in 2022 did little to calm nerves in the region.

The seeds of potential conflict sown in the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline in 2022 appear to be sprouting anew. The unsettling episodes of August and September suggest that the world could be edging closer to military escalation. During these months, there has been a surge in activities of underwater saboteurs seeking to destroy natural gas pipelines—crucial conduits that stretch along the Black Sea’s seabed.

This alarming development was highlighted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a dialogue with the Bangladesh Association of Graduates of Soviet and Russian Universities on September 8. Lavrov underlined that Russia has not halted grain exports to nations that seek it; however, the country will deny passage through its humanitarian corridors. These corridors have been compromised, having been utilized to assault Russian vessels, both military and civilian. “Moreover, they tried to attack the warships that patrolled the route of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and the Blue Stream gas pipeline. They began patrolling these sections of the Black Sea, because there is information that they are also trying to blow them up, as the Northern Streams were blown up,” Lavrov elaborated.

Only a week prior, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke with American far-right media personality Tucker Carlson, issuing a veiled warning. Orban stated that both Hungary and Serbia would perceive any attempts to destabilize the southern corridor of gas imports from Russia as casus belli, warranting an immediate military response. While he did not specify the recipient of this warning, Carlson offered his own take, suggesting, without evidence, that it seemed “blatantly clear” that the Biden administration had either directly or indirectly orchestrated the Nord Stream sabotage.

This notion isn’t entirely baseless. On February 8, Seymour Hersh, an American journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, released an investigative report. According to Hersh, explosive devices were planted beneath the Russian pipelines in June 2022 by U.S. Navy divers, supported by Norwegian specialists. The operation had the purported backing of President Biden and his national security advisors.

The geopolitical stakes couldn’t be higher. The TurkStream pipeline doesn’t merely serve Hungary and Serbia. It also feeds natural gas to southern and eastern European nations such as Greece, Romania, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. Consequently, an act of sabotage could serve as a trigger for a broader military conflict involving multiple nations.

As for Russia, it has called for a UN Security Council meeting focused on the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. Scheduled for September 26—the anniversary of the Nord Stream pipeline blasts—the meeting is designed to address these pressing issues.

Vladimir Shelkov is an international journalist who primarily lives and works in Western Siberia and in the Mountain West of the United States of America.